Echostar debuts Freesat Slingbox

IP&TV WORLD FORUM – LONDON. Echostar has unveiled a new PVR with a 500 GB hard disk for the free-to-air satellite platform Freesat that features the group’s placeshifting technology.

The ‘SlingLoaded’ HDS-600RS will combine Freesat+ functionality with the TV anywhere features of the Slingbox. The ‘SlingLoaded’ capability in the unit will allow Freesat homes to access their content on PCs, Macs and companion devices such as the iPad and Android platforms. In addition to the familiar PVR trickplay, the box is also offers access to catch-up TV from the BBC iPlayer. The delayed ITV Player is also still slated to appear on the Freesat platform in the near future.

“In Europe subscribers to pay-TV technology have been restricted by pay-TV operators who have only offered consumers enough to be ahead of the competition,” Rick Smith, VP sales & marketing, Echostar Europe said at the launch at London’s Imagination Gallery. “We’re able to bring TV viewers features they can’t get anywhere else. They can’t get it from Sky, from Virgin and they certainly can’t get it from Freeview.” Although a terrestrial version is seemingly off the agenda, the device does feature a smart card slot, suggesting it could also be used on free-to-view platforms that use encryption.

Freesat Managing Director Emma Scott added “This is a great partnership for us. It’s our first foray into Echostar’s ‘TV anywhere’, and offers even more fantastic choice for our customers. Freesat has constantly evolved since launch and this paves the way for more exciting innovations in the future.”

Earlier this month Broadband TV News revealed that Freesat was planning to adopt the HbbTV interactive technology as part of a second generation of receivers.

During this week’s IP&TV World Forum in London, Echostar has been demonstrating the SlingLoaded HDS-600 platform that provides IP and digital TV operators with a fully integrated and seamless TV anywhere experience.

Unlike other platforms that have to renegotiate carriage deals if they want to introduce multiscreen capability, Freesat benefits from having all of its content available in the clear.

Freesat is currently deployed in around 1.6 million homes. NHK World HD will shortly join the platform.